It’s not unusual for the weddings of the rich and famous to veer into ridiculous excess, but internet billionaire Sean Parker’s recent nuptials really take the over-the-top wedding cake. Parker’s wedding took place in a redwood grove on a Big Sur campground. Apparently the natural grandeur wasn’t good enough for Parker and his guests, because the groom spent a reported $10 million on the festivities, which involved trashing the forest to build a pond and fake castle ruins.
Sean Parker, former president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster, cut a deal with the nearby Inn that manages the campground property to shut down the campground for months while Parker manufactured his fantasy wedding — without any permits — smack dab in the middle of a sensitive redwood forest. The construction included a stone bridge, rock walls, a pond, multiple staircases, a dance floor and fake castle ruins. And lest you assume, being an apparent Big Sur lover, that Parker took precautions to protect the area during the build, structures were built without regard for protecting the forest, with stairs built right up against redwoods and structures on the edge of the creek running through the grounds.
In the report from the California Coastal Commission, experts predict that the damage to the area will be long lasting. Redwood propagation will likely be impacted as a result of the digging and nearby building, and the activity has probably caused sedimentation of the creek, which may reduce the aquatic plants. The activity will also likely impact the steelhead trout that run through the creek.
The CCC was made aware of the issue prior to the wedding, but decided not to take action because the damage was already done. Parker has agreed to pay a 2.5 million dollar fine and to work with experts to get the area back in shape, which includes restoring a nearby trailhead that the Inn had commandeered for guest parking long before Parker showed up on the scene. How long it takes, and how well the area truly can be restored, remains to be seen.
images from the CCC